I am blessed to know a wise man that, after a difficult first half of his life, has now been living and breathing a quietly spiritual path for many decades. He is a friend and mentor. This week we were discussing the pitfalls of being overly self-focussed, and he shared with me one way that he guards against this tendency. He recalls a famous speech that President Kennedy made, where he said,
“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
My friend then adapts this phrase to any situation in which he is becoming overly obsessed with his own needs, or when reviewing his day ahead. I like this practical idea. It is the antidote to my all-too human self-centredness.
‘Ask not what my day can give to me, but what I can give to my day.’
This approach may be useful as we head into the festive period with all the demands on our time, and family events that might not be all that we would wish!
More than this, at the heart of such an ‘other-focused’ attitude is surely one of the deepest expressions of Love. As St Francis said, ‘it is in self-forgetting that I find’.
And yet, paradoxically, I cannot truly give love if I have no sense of self-care, if I am living from a place of low self-esteem and fear, which lurk deep beneath all self-centredness.
Authentic Love arises from a deep, quiet inner knowing of our own worth as spiritual beings. In our purest essence, we are beings of Light who are gently, powerfully, and unconditionally loved by God.
Nothing we can do or say, neither our failures nor our successes will change this beautiful truth.
When we know, in the deep-most part of ourselves, that we are completely loved and accepted just as we are, then we will begin to radiate this outwards, naturally, to others.
Deeper still, we know again, in this present moment, that we are One with God.
God is Love
I am One with Love
I am Love
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